On Monday evening, a TMZ reporter asked Tommy Hilfiger how often he washed his jeans, and the designer was quick to answer: "Never." Not only does the 62-year-old designer not wash his jeans, he thinks people who throw them in the wash after every wear are crazy. "They'll fall apart. I love them broken in," said Hilfiger.
Hilfiger isn't the first to encourage denim-wearers to wash jeans as little as possible. Carl Chiara, director of brand concepts and special projects for Levi Strauss & Co. told the Wall Street Journal, "The less people wash their jeans, the better their jeans become. Denim really does shape to people's bodies, and when you wash a jean you lose some of that shape."
Chiara believes that the washing machine agitates the denim, causing the fibers to swell and bloom, which shrinks the jeans. Additionally, heat destroys the overall quality of denim, which means you should avoid hot water and drying machines at all costs, too.
So, what's a girl got to do to keep her jeans looking good, but smelling fresh? Here are our tips as told by the experts.
- Wear them as long as possible before washing. That's about six months, according to GQ. Look out for when the back-of-the-knees begin to bunch and fade.
- Never use regular fabric soap. Chiara suggests using a capful of Dr. Bronner's Magic Liquid soap in a bathtub of room temperature water. Let it soak for 20 minutes.
- Add vinegar. If you're washing a darker pair of jeans, Chiara suggests adding an eighth cup of white vinegar to keep the indigo from fading.
- Hang them up in the bathroom. To extend your jeans' life between washes, hang them on a hanger by the shower. The steam will help remove any creases and will help to air them out, keeping them (somewhat) fresh. You should also hang dry your jeans by the belt loops after you soak them in the tub until they are damp.
- Put them back on while they're still damp. If you want your jeans to shape to your body (which you do), let them dry while they're still a little damp on your person. Um, don't go out in the dead of winter while you do.
- Freeze them. Apartment Therapy suggests putting your jeans in a ziplock bag and freezing them for a week. This bizarre method does not technically "wash" your jeans, but it makes them feel crisp and clean... after they thaw.
The things we do for denim, people.